She Who Is Gritty, Wins the Race
"She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sail."
Sometimes you look at other women and wonder, how does she do it? Things are falling apart all around her, but yet, her sail still stands. You tell yourself, “I don’t know what I would do if I had to walk in her shoes”, not realizing that she has something inside of her, that you also have inside of you. It’s called, resilience.
Studies have shown, that people who experience adversity in childhood are far more resilient as adults than others. It’s not to say that experiencing adversity is the only way to be resilient, but it is to suggest that as life comes at us and we build up our toolbox of resilience, we become better at it over time. Which brings me to my reason for writing this post.
I spent my childhood and young adulthood combatting the effects of my parent’s individual drug addictions. As their oldest child, I was the one who had to keep it all together when things were seemingly falling apart. I was the one who got my younger sister and brother ready for bed and then for school the next morning when my single mother was coming loose at the seams. I was the one who learned to cook, clean, shop for groceries, pay bills, solve real life problems, and maintain good grades, because I simply had no other choice.
“You look great to be going through so much.”
This recently lead me to a realization. In the fall of 2016 my ex-husband and I separated, that same week, my maternal grandmother lost her battle to ovarian cancer and just a week later, my paternal grandmother was diagnosed with Dementia. In the next 12 months I had experienced almost every kind of trauma one could experience. Including, a near death situation, when my lungs began to fail me in October of 2017. I became the one whom people looked at and asked, “How are you doing it?" They said things like “You look great to be going through so much" and I thought to myself, “How am I supposed to be doing?", I wondered. More importantly, how in the hell was I supposed to look? Was I missing something?
It was then I realized that over the years I had been building my resilience muscle and what people were actually seeing was my will to not give up or give in from the pressures of life, but to instead, lean in, using the tools I had in my toolbox, and to push through, fighting like a girl until the end. What I now know, is that in life there will be many races and you must use each one to build your muscles of resilience to prepare you for the next. Remembering, resilience gets you to the finish line, but GRIT, gets you over it. Here's to being EXTRA-gritty.
In 2014, I delivered the commencement address to students at Indiana Tech University about Winning in the Race of Life. Take a listen below. It's short and purposeful.
By the way, on April 28, 2018, I'll be gathering an electrifying group of women in Cleveland, Ohio at LIVE and Bounce Back; A Conversation on Resiliency. You should join us.